What do you do if you get a call from a debt collector?
You probably panic right? Especially if you have never gotten a call from someone in a collection department before. But, you need to remember that you NEED to keep your emotions in check. If you start to feel emotional or start to get upset please make sure you end the conversation and ask them to call you back at another time.
Secondly, if this is not a mistake and a legit collections call and you have no way of making the payment, knowing your rights is very important. This is where the FFDCPA comes in. The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal act that outlines consumer rights, as well as the restrictions of creditor calls.
Here are some things that this Act says creditors can and can’t do:
- No harassing calls can be made between the creditor and the debtor.
- Calls must be between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m by the creditor.
- Repeated calling and name-calling are prohibited. This goes both ways – you be polite to them and they should be polite to you.
- If a collector is harassing you, tell them that you are taping the calls to ensure that they are following the FFDCPA. This may or may not work.
- Send a certified letter (return receipt requested) to collectors to prevent them from contacting you at work. Simply ask them to stop. Be direct.
- No collector may garnish wages or attach bank accounts without first suing and winning. (The only exception is student loans that are in default.)
It is very important as a consumer to know your rights in regards to debt collectors and what they can and can’t do and what you can and can’t do. You can not expect debt collectors to not try different methods to collect their funds and often they will violate the federal act because they receive commissions on any accounts they collect on. This is not always the case but it has happened.
Knowing your rights gives you the upper hand because it allows you to be calm, speak with authority and be polite. You can find more of your rights by simply googling them. There are a million and one articles that break down your rights as a consumer in regards to debt and dealing with debt collectors.
Here are some resources you should look into if you are interested in learning more about how to deal with creditors, bad debts or just debt in general:
Information, resources and help for compulsive debtors
A non-profit financial counseling and education agency partnering with credit unions, banks, and employee assistance programs throughout the United States.